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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 37 No. 2, p. 308-317
    Received: Apr 19, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): genevieve_bordeleau@ete.inrs.ca
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Environmental Impacts of Training Activities at an Air Weapons Range

  1. Geneviève Bordeleau *a,
  2. Richard Martela,
  3. Guy Amplemanb and
  4. Sonia Thiboutotb
  1. a National Scientific Research Inst. (INRS-ETE), 490 de la Couronne, Québec, QC G1K 9A9, Canada
    b Defense Research and Development Canada (DRDC-Valcartier), 2459 Pie-XI Blvd. North, Québec, QC G3J 1X5, Canada


Within Canada, it has been recognized in the last decade that military training activities may have impacts on the environmental quality of training ranges. However, impacts of activities specific to Air Force Bases have not yet been intensely documented. A hydrogeological study was accomplished at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, Alberta, to evaluate the environmental impacts of using bombs, rockets, strafing, and open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) on the quality of soil, ground water, surface water, and lake sediments. Samples were analyzed for metals, anions, ammonium perchlorate (NH4ClO4), and energetic materials (EM). It was found that training activities did not result in measured values being exceeded on the basis of guidance values for surface water and lake sediments. Contamination by metals was mostly limited to soils, and some metals may be related to the use of bombs (Cd, Cu, Pb), strafe (Cu), and rockets (As, Ba, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, U, V, Zn). TNT (2,4,6-trinitrotoluene) was the main EM found in soils, while RDX (hexahydro-1,3,5-trinitro-1,3,5-triazine) was more common in ground water. Both are related to live bombing, while nitroglycerine (NG) is related to rocket use and was detected in soils only. Aluminum, nitrate, and ammonium perchlorate detected in ground water may be related to live bombing or rockets. OB/OD operations resulted in the presence of various EM in soils, and of perchlorate and nitrate in ground water. Contamination by metals and explosives in soils was localized around the targets and varied significantly in time; however, in ground water it was more constant and may persist for a period of several years after a target has been removed.

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